Baltimore City Joins the Fight for $15

May 13, 2016

Baltimore City became the newest city to take on the Fight for $15 with the introduction of a bill to raise the minimum wage for workers in the city to $15 by 2020. A $15 minimum wage by 2020 could raise pay for nearly 100,000 workers in Baltimore City, approximately 20 percent of the workforce.

The bill proposes gradually increasing the minimum wage in Baltimore City to $15 by July 2020 and indexing it after that so it rises with increases in the cost of living. It also raises pay for tipped workers, who currently earn $3.63 per hour, to $15 by July 2025 and eliminates the tipped wage thereafter. Also included in the legislation are provisions to eliminate current exemptions to the minimum wage law as well as to strengthen enforcement and anti-retaliation protections for workers.

“I’m proud that 1199 is taking on this fight. A $15 minimum wage will help me, my family and so many others in Baltimore City. It will enable me to pay my bills and take care of my children. People need to make more money to be able to maintain,” said Susan Clark, a GNA at Future Care Coldspring in Baltimore City. “Even though I make close to $15 per hour, higher wages mean my employer will have to raise us to make our jobs competitive. People wonder why you’ve got folks selling drugs and committing crimes. That’s what happens when people can’t earn enough money. We’ve still got to eat and pay our bills.”

Approximately 24 percent of Baltimore residents currently have an income below the poverty level. More than one-fifth of city households receive food stamps.